The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), on Monday, demanded a Central government inquiry into illegal mining in Punjab which, the party said, is causing serious damage to the environment, and is endangering national security and the state infrastructure.
Senior SAD leader Dr. Daljit Singh Cheema has alleged that the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has failed to convince the Punjab and Haryana High Courts that it has stopped illegal mining on river beds which was posing a serious threat to national security.
“It is now clear that the government is helpless before the mining mafia. Only a Central probe can expose the mining mafia and force the government to stop illegal mining along the international border as well as elsewhere in the state,” he added.
Dr Cheema said that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had also exposed the AAP government’s propaganda vis a vis illegal mining.
“The government has spent crores to give an impression that it has put an end to illegal mining and reduced the prices of sand. However, disclosures in the court prove that all these contentions are false and that the government has befooled Punjabis on this issue. Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann owes an explanation to the people of the state,” he said.
Asking the CM to get out of his propaganda shell and display seriousness in tackling illegal mining, Dr Cheema said: “The reports submitted by the Border Security Force (BSF) have serious connotations for national security.”
“It is condemnable that the AAP government has allowed illegal miners to create gorges and ditches on the Ravi river running into Pakistan which has virtually become an entry point for infiltrators and terrorists,” he added.
Dr Cheema said that illegal mining was also destroying state infrastructure with deep crevices in the Chakki river bed in Pathankot, endangering the historic railway bridge built over it. Similarly a bridge at Garhshankar has been endangered due to illegal mining around its pillars, he said.
The SAD leader said the common man was also being affected due to the abject surrender at the hands of the mining mafia by the AAP government. He said that the rates of sand had more than doubled since the AAP government came to power. This has virtually halted the construction activity in the state, added the SAD leader.